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These Two Sauces Will Make Your Steak More Delicious

RAISE THE STEAKS Simmering the carrots for the salsa that’s served with the sirloin draws out sweetness and makes for a velvety purée.
RAISE THE STEAKS Simmering the carrots for the salsa that’s served with the sirloin draws out sweetness and makes for a velvety purée. Photo: James Ransom for The Wall Street Journal, Food Styling by Eugene Jho, Prop Styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart

The Chef: Fermín Nuñez

These Two Sauces Will Make Your Steak More Delicious
Illustration: MICHAEL HOEWELER

His Restaurant Suerte in Austin, Texas

What He’s Known For Smart, elevated takes on Mexican cooking. Perfecting the art of the tortilla.

A QUALITY STEAK calls for nothing more than salt and a good sear. But the smoky savor of the meat really pops when paired with a little sweetness and acidity.

In this recipe from chef Fermín Nuñez of Suerte in Austin, Texas, a velvety carrot-habanero salsa provides the sweet element plus heat. A fresh pico de gallo of mangos, chiles, shallots and cilantro contributes the crucial acid zing. “It’s a party,” Mr. Nuñez said. “It dances in your mouth.”

Of course, none of that matters if you don’t nail the cooking of the steak. The pan must be good and hot to achieve a proper sear and a rosy interior. Seconds count, so give the sizzling steak your full attention.

It helps that the other elements are so simple. The pico requires no cooking and the salsa calls for little more than simmering the carrots, charring a shallot for added smoky depth, and then a quick blender blitz. You might want to round out the plate with a side of pan-roasted potatoes, as Mr. Nuñez does at Suerte. “I’m in the business of delicious,” he said. “And when I tasted it all together it was obvious.”

TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes SERVES: 4

2 (1-pound) sirloin steaks

Kosher salt

4 carrots, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic

6 cups chicken stock

2 dried habanero chiles

2 shallots

5 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 large mango, diced

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 small red chile, minced

2 tablespoons butter

Roasted potatoes, to serve (optional)

1. Season steaks generously with salt and set aside.

2. Make carrot-habanero salsa: In a pot over medium-high heat, combine carrots, garlic, stock and habaneros. Simmer until carrots are very tender, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a dry large sauté pan, cook 1 whole shallot over medium-high heat until charred all over, about 5 minutes. Drain carrots, garlic and habaneros, reserving cooking liquid, and transfer to a blender. Add charred shallot and purée. With motor running, stream in 3 tablespoons oil. Salsa should be loose but not watery. If necessary, blend in some cooking liquid. Season with half the lime juice and salt to taste.

3. Make mango pico de gallo: Mince remaining shallot and toss with mango, cilantro, red chiles and remaining lime juice. Season with salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

4. Heat remaining oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons butter. Lay in steaks and cook, undisturbed, until charred on underside, 3-5 minutes. Repeat on reverse side until meat reaches desired doneness, 3-5 minutes for medium-rare. Let steaks rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

5. Cut steaks against the grain into ½-inch slices. Smear salsa over four plates. Top with sliced steak and pico de gallo Serve with roasted potatoes, if you like.

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Your New Favorite Brown Liquor

From left: Osocalis XO Alambic Brandy; Bertoux Brandy; Argonaut Speculator; Germain-Robin XO; Copper & Kings American Craft Distilled Brandy.
From left: Osocalis XO Alambic Brandy; Bertoux Brandy; Argonaut Speculator; Germain-Robin XO; Copper & Kings American Craft Distilled Brandy. Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

AFTER YEARS of watching bourbon sales soar, American brandy distillers are ready to get in on the action. The first step: education.

Brandy encompasses a whole range of spirits: Cognacs and Armagnacs, distilled from (grape) wine; Calvados and other apple brandies, made from cider; and fruit brandies derived from berries and tree fruits. The most sought-after brandies are barrel-aged, yielding a liquor as brown and aromatic as any bourbon.

Traditionally, American brandy has been “a bit of an underdog,” according to Thomas Pastuszak, executive wine director for the NoMad Hotel chain. In August, along with Jeff Bell, bar manager of PDT in New York and Hong Kong, Mr. Pastuszak launched Bertoux, a new California brandy intended for mixing into cocktails.

The word premium has long been attached to French brandies, particularly luxe, highly regulated Cognac. By comparison, American-made brandy has been pigeonholed as an unremarkable “value” spirit—a reputation long deserved, on the whole, especially among the largest producers.

In recent years, however, American distillers have been turning out excellent brandies made from a variety of fruits, often in regions not traditionally known for brandy. In Texas, for example, Chip Tate, best known for building the Balcones brand of whiskies, is designing and assembling his own stills and producing brandy made with grapes from the Texas Hill Country wine region. In North Carolina, High Wire Distilling is experimenting with old-school peach and watermelon brandies, made with fruit grown in state.

Even in bourbon central, Louisville, Ky., Joe Heron, co-founder of Copper & Kings, has been garnering attention with his line of grape- and apple-based brandies. Mr. Heron—who founded the popular Crispin Cider and then sold it to MillerCoors—has injected a youthful rock ’n’ roll personality into a category often considered fusty. He names stills after characters in Bob Dylan songs and blasts Queen, David Bowie and Kanye West in the aging cellar (at least, that’s what was playing when I visited), so the pulse of the bass agitates the liquid in the barrels, a technique called “sonic aging.” In January, beer, wine and spirits giant Constellation Brands took a minority stake in Copper & Kings.

“The resurgence is built on the shoulders of an increasingly adventurous consumer within a brown spirits palate preference,” said Mr. Heron. In other words, he said, brandy is “slipstreaming” bourbon. Mr. Heron also credits crossover between wine and brandy—most often made with wine grapes—with helping to introduce the spirit to wine drinkers. Bartenders, too, have played “an enormous role” in raising consumer awareness, he said, and bringing brandy to a place where it is “not traditional and boring.”

He names stills after characters in Bob Dylan songs and blasts Queen, David Bowie and Kanye West in the aging cellar.

In California, America’s most established brandy-making center, a coalition of producers met in April to brainstorm the promotion of the state’s considerable stocks of “America’s other brown spirit.” Participating distilleries at the inaugural California Brandy Summit in Fresno included E. & J. Gallo, F. Korbel & Bros., and smaller producers such as Germain-Robin (since acquired by Gallo), Charbay Distillery & Winery and Osocalis.

Brandy “needs to get out of the commodity box,” lamented Paul Ahvenainen, Korbel’s director of winemaking and master distiller at the summit. “If brandy isn’t sexy, it’s because we’re not making it sexy.”

Ansley Coale, co-founder and principal of Germain-Robin, a craft producer noted for exquisite small-batch brandies, echoed Mr. Ahvenainen’s sentiments. “People don’t know enough about brandy to understand how good it can be, to really believe in it,” he said.

Among the ideas floated for rehabbing California brandy: Emphasize the “terroir” of brandy, similar to that of California wine. Create a “straight brandy” category similar to straight bourbon, with additional legal requirements regarding production, to help drive the premium association. Push more brandy into the cocktail world, where drink recipes are currently far more likely to call for, say, whiskey or rum.

The cocktail push has gained the most traction. Over the last year, Gallo has been touting its Argonaut line intended for mixing into cocktails. The most recent entrant to the fray, Bertoux—named for the inventor of the motorcycle sidecar, an oblique reference to the brandy-based drink of the same name—is a versatile blend of brandies aged three to seven years, sourced from a contract distillery in Parlier, Calif.

Compared to more rigidly defined styles from France (Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados), premium American brandy has yet to find its limits. Expressions range widely, from Copper & Kings’ muscular brandies to the elegance of Germain-Robin to light, easy drinking Bertoux. Among the diverse list of bottles above, any lover of brown spirits should find a winning way into this category.

American brandy “doesn’t have a unique style, so there’s room to play and develop new ones,” said Mr. Pastuszak. “It’s the Wild Wild West appeal there.”

BRANDY, YOU’RE A FINE DRINK / American Bottles to Suit a Range of Tastes

1. Osocalis XO Alambic Brandy (40% ABV, $120)

An outstanding choice to sip straight, fireside. This velvety mix of fresh-cut apple and orange zest mingled with honey, vanilla and sweet spices has a super long finish.

2. Bertoux Brandy (40% ABV, $45)

This bartender-blended brandy intended for mixing into cocktails is relatively light on the palate, melding oak and apricot, and finishing with a flurry of ginger sparks.

3. Argonaut Speculator (43% ABV, $38)

From California brandy giant E. & J. Gallo, this very mellow brandy offers layers of dried fig, caramel and spice. A versatile choice for either sipping or mixing.

4. Germain-Robin XO (40% ABV, $200)

Think elegance and finesse. This is aged longer than most American brandies—about 17 years—yielding a silky sipper accented with vanilla, coconut and roasted nuts. An ideal dessert drink.

5. Copper & Kings American Craft Distilled Brandy 45% ABV, $35)

This robust brandy made in Louisville, Ky., hints at honey and baking spice, with lots of toasty oak tannins providing a dry, puckery finish.

Your New Favorite Brown Liquor
Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal
Sidecar

An artifact of an era when brandy was a bartender go-to, this cocktail makes a great showcase for the new wave of American brandies.

Combine 1½ ounces Bertoux Brandy, ¾ ounce lemon juice, ½ ounce Cointreau and ¼ ounce simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Happy Thursday: Prince Harry Just a Kissed a Royal Fan

A woman named Lydia received quite the surprise yesterday (October 3) when Prince Harry gave her a royal kiss on the hand. Yup!

Here’s what happened: While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were on their official visit to Sussex, they did a meet-and-greet session with fans. When the couple got to Lydia—who the Daily Mail reports is an 80-year-old woman—she told Markle that she looked “so beautiful.” And then, Prince Harry swooped in to give her a peck on the hand.

Lydia replied by giggling and saying, “Oh thank you!” You can watch the full video, below:

Prince Harry and Lydia’s adorable moment wasn’t the only dose of royal PDA that fans got during the duke and duchess’s trip to their namesake Sussex. (This was the first trip they took to Sussex, by the way: a fact that’s delighted the Internet.) While chatting with and fist-bumping some school-age children, Markle gave Prince Harry a sweet back rub, likely returning the favor from the time he gave her an impromptu massage at the WellChild Awards in September. Their visit also involved a cute interaction between Prince Harry and a golden retriever. It’s like he’s trying to make us swoon, ya know?

The royal couple is reportedly planning to take their first ever trip to the United States next year. They have no official plans on the books just yet—insiders claim they’re looking at New York, D.C., California, and Canada as potential destinations.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have Reportedly Welcomed a New Addition to Their Family

First Look At Dwayne Johnson And Jason Statham In Hobbs And Shaw

The Fast and the Furious franchise has had an absolutely fascinating tenure in theaters. Starting off as a basic racing flick with some mediocre sequels, the property eventually turned into a beloved action franchise that is considered a new classic. Each installment has made a ton of money at the box office, including the recent blockbuster The Fate of the Furious. While the franchise shows no signs of slowing down (see what I did there?), it’s also expanding to spinoff films– the first of which being Hobbs & Shaw. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as the title characters, the film will follow as the two badasses team up on an adventure separate from the rest of The Family. The first image from Hobbs & Shaw has just arrived, showing the dynamic duo in action.

Uh oh. While Shaw and Hobbs seem to finally come to an agreement by the end of The Fate and The Furious, it’s unclear how well they’ll function as a team throughout the course of their own spinoff movie. It wouldn’t be fun to see the two fan favorites being all buddy buddy, and the first image certainly teases a rocky road for them to walk together.

This first Shaw & Hobbs image comes to us from The Rock himself, Dwayne Johnson. Johnson is one of the busiest men in show business, and is constantly filming, producing, acting in, or promoting one of his movies. Shaw & Hobbs seems like a passion project for Johnson, so it should be interesting to see if his support of the project is more enthusiastic than others. If that’s even possible.

While Dwayne Luke Hobbs made his franchise debut in Fast Five, Jason Statham’s character Shaw is more of a newcomer. After having a brief cameo in Fast & Furious 6, Deckard Shaw was an antagonist who eventually switches side and joins Dom’s crew in The Fate of the Furious. But before a new movie is filmed for the main story, he’ll team up with The Rock for Shaw & Hobbs.

As a reminder, check out the duo’s iconic prison scene in The Fate of the Furious.

I mean, how can you not give those two their own movie? There’s just too much badassery to pass up.

While fans of the Fast and the Furious franchise are psyched for Hobbs and Shaw to get their own movie, there’s been some contention from other members of The Family. Specifically, actor Tyrese Gibson took umbrage with the spinoff, as it essentially delayed the next main installment. And since Gibson’s character Roman Pearce won’t have a role in Hobbs & Shaw, he felt The Rock was taking money from his family by exploring a new project. It was a celebrity feud that lasted months, although it seems to have died down as of late.

You can see Hobbs & Shaw yourself when it arrives in theaters on August 2, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

DC Universe’s Titans Renewed For Season 2 Before Season 1 Can Even Premiere

Live TV viewership used to dictated whether or not a series lived to see another season, although streaming has always been a different ratings beast, with official viewership numbers often hidden from the public eye. DC Universe hasn’t even premiered Titans yet, but the superhero drama was renewed for Season 2 before the first season even had a chance to debut and score any ratings stats. The confidence-oozing announcement was made at this year’s New York Comic-Con, which CinemaBlend was present for.

Titans‘ Season 2 renewal came right after New York Comic Con attendees saw the DC Universe staple’s world premiere, although it’s likely the next season commitment was cemented before audiences ever got a chance to see the heroes in action. Season 2’s announcement came on the heels of DC Universe locking down an international distribution deal with Netflix, who will be streaming Titans in every supported country that isn’t the United States or China. That deal will ensure audiences worldwide get to see this edgier, grown-up version of the Titans in action, to decide for themselves whether or not Robin’s mega-diss on Batman was justified.

Titans‘ early renewal isn’t too surprising from a business perspective, especially now that studio execs have had a chance to look at the early subscription numbers for DC Universe. (Plus, cancelling a flagship series ahead of its premiere probably isn’t the best look for a competitive new streaming service.) Barring any major controversies or incidents, it would be very hard to imagine a scenario where Titans wasn’t going to get a Season 2, even if the audience’s response to the new series wasn’t as super as the heroes, since comic book TV is all the rage. But the early buzz seems to be more positive, as a good number of viewers and critics at New York Comic Con appear to have been impressed,

That said, there are a few outliers who aren’t fans of DC Universes’ new hero squad. Some have taken issue with the gritty adaptation of the Teen Titans characters, which has been one of the big talking points leading up to the show’s premiere. Many fans were probably hoping for an adaptation closer to the original Teen Titans animated series by Glen Murakami, which could actually be coming back to television in the future anyway. Another issue some have taken with the series is its portrayal of characters like Starfire, whose live-action look differs from past adaptations of the character.

Starfire can be seen alongside her ass-kicking teammates in the show’s latest trailer, which shows the team linking up for and getting ready for a fight.

Season 1 of Titans is due to arrive on DC Universe on Friday, October 12. It’s one of the many television shows making its debut in the coming months, so be sure to check out our fall premiere guide and see what else is headed to television.

Camila Cabello, Ariana Grande, Post Malone Lead The 2018 MTV EMA Nominations

The MTV EMA will never be the same! After a whirlwind year — during which she notched a No. 1 album and won the top two prizes at the VMAs — Camila Cabello leads the pack of nominees at this year’s star-studded awards show.

Cabello snagged six nominations, including Best Song and Best Video for her Young Thug-featuring smash, “Havana,” which she performed at last year’s show. She’s also up for the coveted Best Artist prize alongside Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Drake, and Dua Lipa. Grande and Malone follow Cabello with five nominations each, while Lipa, Drake, and Shawn Mendes boast four nods to their names. Elsewhere among the pack, game-changing artists like Cardi B, Travis Scott, and BTS are also nominated.

The 2018 MTV EMA will celebrate some of the biggest names in music when the show airs live around the globe from Bilbao, Spain, on Sunday, November 4 at 9 p.m. CEST and at 7 p.m. ET. As always, fans decide the winners in each category for the night, so check out the full list of nominees below and get voting now at mtvema.com!

BEST ARTIST

Ariana Grande

Camila Cabello

Drake

Dua Lipa

Post Malone

BEST VIDEO

Ariana Grande — “no tears left to cry”

Camila Cabello — “Havana” ft. Young Thug

Childish Gambino – “This Is America”

Lil Dicky — “Freaky Friday” ft. Chris Brown

The Carters — “APES**T”

BEST SONG

Ariana Grande — “no tears left to cry”

Bebe Rexha — “Meant To Be” ft. Florida Georgia Line

Camila Cabello — “Havana” ft. Young Thug

Drake — “God’s Plan”

Post Malone — “rockstar” ft. 21 Savage

BEST POP

Ariana Grande

Camila Cabello

Dua Lipa

Hailee Steinfeld

Shawn Mendes

BEST NEW

Anne-Marie

Bazzi

Cardi B

Hayley Kiyoko

Jessie Reyez

BEST LOOK

Cardi B

Dua Lipa

Migos

Nicki Minaj

Post Malone

BEST HIP HOP

Drake

Eminem

Migos

Nicki Minaj

Travis Scott

BEST LIVE

Ed Sheeran

Muse

P!nk

Shawn Mendes

The Carters

BEST ROCK

5 Seconds Of Summer

Foo Fighters

Imagine Dragons

Muse

U2

BEST ALTERNATIVE

Fall Out Boy

Panic! At The Disco

The 1975

Thirty Seconds To Mars

twenty one pilots

BEST ELECTRONIC

Calvin Harris

David Guetta

Marshmello

Martin Garrix

The Chainsmokers

BIGGEST FANS

BTS

Camila Cabello

Selena Gomez

Shawn Mendes

Taylor Swift

BEST WORLD STAGE

Clean Bandit — MTV Crashes Plymouth, UK 2017

Charli XCX — MTV Crashes Plymouth, UK 2017

David Guetta — Trafalgar Square, UK 2017

Jason Derulo — Isle of MTV Malta 2018

Post Malone — Wireless Festival, UK 2018

Migos — Wireless Festival, UK 2018

J Cole — Wireless Festival, UK 2018

Nick Jonas — MTV Spotlight @ Hyperplay, Singapore 2018

Alessia Cara — MTV Spotlight @ Hyperplay, Singapore 2018

BEST PUSH

PRETTYMUCH (October 2017)

Why Don’t We (November 2017 )

Grace VanderWaal (December 2017)

Bishop Briggs (January 2018)

Superorganism (February 2018)

Jessie Reyez (March 2018)

Hayley Kiyoko (April 2018)

Lil Xan (May 2018)

Sigrid (June 2018)

Chloe x Halle (July 2018)

Bazzi (August 2018)

Jorja Smith (September 2018)

BEST U.S. ACT (BEST LOCAL ACT)

Ariana Grande

Camila Cabello

Cardi B

Imagine Dragons

Post Malone

X-Men Producer Simon Kinberg Understands Gambit Worries

The X-Men franchise has had a long life in the theaters, but it hasn’t been without missteps. And while R-rated movies like Deadpool and Logan have found massive success, Fox’s next three releases have each been pushed back a few times. No blockbuster is quite as guilty of this as Channing Tatum’s Gambit, which has been delayed more times than you can shake a kinetically charged stick at. Many hardcore cinephiles and Marvel fans have all but given up on the Gambit movie at this point, and producer Simon Kinberg seems to understand that experience. In fact, he shared the cynicism– despite knowing the inner workings of the franchise. As he tells it,

While making a joke about his own insecurities and personal background, Simon Kinberg does seem to level with the fans here. Gambit has had an extremely rocky road to development, with no end in sight. So fans who don’t think the project will ever happen certainly have cause.

Simon Kinberg’s comments to Collider show how in flux the X-Men franchise as a whole is, and how the folks at 20th Century Fox are a bit more flexible than one would think. While running the X-Men franchise for nearly two decades is a massive undertaking, the studio seems to be flying by the seat of their pants in some ways. Just look at the most recent set of delays, as Dark Phoenix takes Gambit‘s release date, The New Mutants was delayed, and Channing Tatum’s movie was left in development hell.

The fans’ trepidation toward Gambit show one way that the superhero genre has changed in the past few years. Because until a blockbuster is actually shot and in the can, there’s no guarantee that previously announced projects will come to fruition. Gambit is a great example of this, as are a variety of DC’s previously announced movies that have no release date or production schedule. There’s still no guarantee the Gambit movie will ever actually make it to theaters, although Simon Kinberg makes it clear that the studio is very much keeping it in mind.

Of course, Simon Kinberg also addresses the possibility that Gambit might never make it to theaters, as he’d just as cynical as the rest of us. And with Disney and Fox’s merger looming in the background, the clock seems to be ticking.

Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut Dark Phoenix will arrive in theaters on June 7th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse Has Lots Of Great Crossover Moments With Coven And Hotel

Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched American Horror Story: Apocalypse’s latest episode.

After taking three episodes to set up its uncomfortable post-disaster narrative, American Horror Story: Apocalypse pulled the curtain down to show viewers what happened in the years before Ms. Venable poisoned the entirety of Outpost 3’s residents. Not only did the episode fully bring the bulk of Coven‘s betwitching ensemble into the fold, but “Could It Be…Satan?” also took a surprise trip back to another former American Horror Story season, with Hotel‘s haunted lodge and characters reappearing. Let’s go over the various connections seen (and unseen) in Episode 4.

Michael Is An Alpha Warlock

Looping everything together in American Horror Story: Apocalypse‘s latest episode was antichrist Michael Langdon’s backstory, which was not set next door to the Murder House under Constance’s care, but partially with an elite academy for burgeoning warlocks, similar to Miss Robichaux’s Academy. (It also happened to be the building presently known as Outpost 3, where Cheyenne Jackson made his seasonal debut.) Though Michael wasn’t necessarily always aware of the powers festering inside him, he strengthened them under the care of Kathy Bates’ Satan-worshipping guardian, whom Mrs. Mead was modeled after. Michael’s mastery caused his superiors to believe him to be the most powerful supernatural entity in existence. Even more powerful than Coven‘s Supreme, perhaps, which is how viewers arrived at the biggest surprise of the episode…

Queenie At The Hotel Cortez

Powerful as Sarah Paulson’s current Supreme Cordelia may be, she copped to the Hawthorne school’s upper echelon that she wasn’t able to rescue Queenie’s soul from eternally playing board games with Evan Peters’ Mr. March within the possessive Hotel Cortez. What a joy it was to see both Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie and Mr. March again, and I was so hopeful for Liz Taylor or Ramona Royale would pop up, too. That didn’t happen, though Queenie did get to escape back to the land of the living, but only after Michael and his ever-growing ego showed up to whisk her away. Which meant that Mr. March didn’t have a game buddy anymore, the poor guy.

Madison’s Hell

Just as Queenie was temporarily trapped in an eternal tug-of-war with another hellacious entity, so was Emma Roberts’ Madison Montgomery. Only, she was stuck in her own personal hell, which wasn’t all THAT far off from Queenie’s stressful fast food afterlife in Coven. Madison was being forced to work as a cashier in a retail department store, which is about as spot-on a character reflection as any in this show. Alas, she didn’t actually have to spend all of eternity checking out angst-ridden demons, because she was also saved by Michael, who brought both Madison and Queenie back to Hawthorne. The sight of them made Cordelia literally pass out, which means Michael’s powers are more impressive than she thought, which possibly doesn’t bode well for her allies.

Outpost 3’s Survivors Are All Coven Witches

As we learned early on, and then later witnessed in part, Miss Robichaux’s Academy was also attended by Leslie Grossman’s Coco, Adina Porter’s Dinah, and Billie Lourd’s Mallory. Each of them had an “identity spell” put on them, though, so that they wouldn’t be aware of their true selves while cavorting with others. (Coco had to have been the “new Madison” of the Academy when she got there.) What’s more, when the episode went back in time to show us just how magical Mallory was in her early days, Apocalypse dropped another big crossover cameo in the form of Taissa Farmiga’s Zoe Benson. We’ve yet to see how Coco, Dinah and Mallory will use their powers for either good or evil, but it’s interesting to now know they have them.

But Where Are Jessica Lange And Lily Rabe?

“Could It Be…Satan?” featured a handful of moments when it seemed inevitable for Jessica Lange’s Constance Langdon (or even Fiona Goode) to bark at someone from a nearby chair, a cigarette dangling from her lips. Similarly, I would have bet some hard cash on Michael’s hell visits also incorporating a rescue for Lily Rabe’s Fleetwood Mac-obsessed witch Misty Day, whose resurrection has previously been teased. Both actresses are confirmed to be returning to the franchise this season in limited capacities, and I guess it makes sense to spread these crossover cameos out more. But if we don’t get Misty Day back by next week, we riot! Unless Michael says we shouldn’t, of course.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs every Wednesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET, and you can bet that Ryan Murphy & Co. have a lot more weird tricks and twists up their sleeves. While waiting for more showstoppers, our fall TV premiere schedule will assist in finding all the great new and returning shows hitting primetime soon.

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7 Easy and Quick Halloween Costumes You Can Put Together

The stakes for coming up with a good (but easy) Halloween costume are pretty high. Sure, you can buy one in a bag at your local party store—but those are never the ones you remember or talk about for years after. You want to be clever and topical, but familiar and recognizable; you want to be creative, but not go to an extreme where you need to spend a lot of time and money. The last year has given us a lot of material, from Royal Wedding to beloved Netflix movies. And with a discerning eye, you can piece together pretty much any costume you’ve been dreaming up from your local mall or Amazon cart.

You might not be on Heidi Klum‘s level, but the easy Halloween costumes we’ve put together ahead will definitely get you on the “best-dressed” list. Put down the animal ears and consider our alternatives…

Meghan Markle at the Royal Wedding

PHOTO: Getty/Courtesy of brands.

Everlane The Cotton Boatneck Tee, $20, Everlane; WAYF Brady Satin Midi Skirt, $41.40, Nordstrom; Vieste Rose Tiara, $37, JC Penney; KLOUD City White Double Ribbon Edge Center Cascade Bridal Wedding Veil, $6.40, Amazon; Jewel Candy Princess Meghan Ring, $40, Jewel Candy

C’mon, you knew this was coming: Meghan Markle‘s wedding to Prince Harry was one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year—and both of her custom wedding dresses have inspired many a copy-cat in the months since. So why not make like the Duchess of Sussex this Halloween with a boatneck top and fitted skirt, to mimic the silhouette of her Givenchy Haute Couture ceremony dress, and throw on a tiara and veil? Make the costume feel extra on-the-nose with a faux engagement ring inspired by Markle’s. (If you’re really committed, you can get one straight from Buckingham Palace.)

Beychella 2018

PHOTO: Getty/Courtesy of brands.

Beyoncé Crest Tee, $40, Beyoncé; H&M Short Hooded Sweatshirt, $17.99, H&M; GAP Mid Rise 3″ Denim Shorts With Distressed Detailing, $20.99, GAP; Pleaser Women’s Queen100/Spu Ankle Bootie, $61.96, Amazon

Another major event in the highlight reel of 2018: Beychella. For two consecutive weekends, Beyoncé dominated the Coachella stage with a performance that took over social media. Her outfits, co-designed by Balmain, were obviously epic. She also released official merch, which makes it all the easier to pay tribute to Beychella appropriately: Start with one of her official T-shirts, then add distressed short-shorts, a cropped hoodie, and sparkle-fringed boots. Now, onto the choreo…

Emily Nelson of A Simple Favor

PHOTO: Lionsgate/Courtesy of brands.

Mango Essential Structured Blazer, $39.99, Mango; Mango Belt Straight-Fit Trousers, $49.99, Mango; J.Crew Mercantile Oxford Shirt, $34.50, J.Crew; Topman White Twill Bow Tie, $15, Topman; Shindigz Plastic Martini Glass, $8.92, Amazon

The promo tour for Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor had Blake Lively on a suit kick, inspired by her character, Emily (and by Feig a little, too.) It’s a very specific look, but one that’s super easy to shop, thanks to the suiting trend. Try your hand at Emily’s tux-inspired ensemble by finding a fitted black blazer and trouser set, a polished white button-down, and a silky bow tie. Stay on-theme by carrying a martini glass all night; you can even sip on her signature drink, using gin made by Lively’s husband, Ryan Reynolds.

Lara Jean Covey of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

PHOTO: Netflix/Courtesy of brands.

& Other Stories Fitted Mock Neck Top, $29, & Other Stories; Uniqlo Women Corduroy Front-Button High-Waist Mini Skirt, $29.90, Uniqlo; Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Core Hi, $54.99, Zappos; Urban Outfitters Velvet Hair Scrunchie Set, $12, Urban Outfitters; AmazonBasics A9 Invitation Envelope, $7.99, Amazon

There are so many reasons why we love Lara Jean Covey from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and her fashion ranks high among them. (Buying combat boots on Etsy? C’mon, too cool.) What’s cool about her style is that it feels cool but attainable. Odds are you shop at the same places—you might even have some of her staples in your closet already. Stick to some of the classic high-school pieces (a corduroy A-line mini skirt, high-top sneakers) and pepper in some more obvious references to the movie: an envelope representing the letters, a scrunchie… Extra points if you find a Peter Kavinsky.

Edna Mode of The Incredibles

PHOTO: Disney/Courtesy of brands.

Disney Edna Mode Wig and Eyeglasses Set For Adults, $19.95, Disney; Zara Tunic With Contrasting Belt, $69.90, Zara; Universal Thread Women’s Everly Round Toe Ballet Flats, $12.99, Target; Boden Two Pack 90D Tights, $35, Boden

We waited a decade to get more fashion insight from Edna Mode, and the Incredibles sequel delivered—now, it’s time to dust off our original costume from way back when, and maybe give it a few updates: Start with the wig and glasses (the designer’s signatures), and build an outfit that’s muted, minimalist, and a wee bit dramatic. Depending on what kind of crowd you’re running with, you could also say you’re dressed as Rei Kawakubo—or, keep the wig, and go as Dr. Fujita from Maniac.

Josie McCoy of Riverdale

PHOTO: CW/Courtesy of brands.

Spirit Halloween Leopard Ear Headband, $6.99, Spirit Halloween; Topshop Leopard Print Swimsuit, $60, Topshop; Bershka Denim Skirt, $29.90, Bershka; Technical Graffiti Drop The Mic Microphone, $19.95, Amazon; Forever21 Ring Faux Leather Choker, $1.99, Forever21

We predict running into many Riverdale residents far from home this Halloween. (The show is pretty much made for this.) While the Main Four tend to get the most play, some of the best costume potential comes from its supporting characters—there’s of course, queen Cheryl Blossom, and also Josie McCoy, eternal leopard-print muse. To channel the leader of the Pussycats, find an anchor item with an all-over leopard pattern (like a bodysuit) to build your outfit around. The rest of the pieces can be more low-key, like a denim skirt and a leather choker. Just don’t forget the cat ears.

Midge Maisel of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

PHOTO: Amazon/Courtesy of brands.

Eliza J. Faux Wrap Ponte Sheath Dress, $82.80, Nordstrom; Boohoo Belted Waterfall Coat, $20, Boohoo; ZaZa Bridal 19.5″ Long Shiny Stretch Satin Dress Gloves, $11.99, Amazon; Clothink Women 100% Wool French Beret, $12.99, Amazon; Charles & Keith Classic Push-Lock Bag, $59, Charles & Keith

While you wait for Amazon to confirm the premiere date of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season two, channel the titular character with a 1950’s-housewife-turned-standup-comic-inspired ensemble. Midge loved her color coordination and smart accessorizing, so make sure to plan accordingly—finding complementary shades of pink and burgundy, scouring Amazon for a beret and satin-look gloves… Carry around a small notebook in your top-handle purse where you can write your material into, for added effect.

I Feel Bad Wasn’t Written for a Woman of Color. Then Sarayu Blue Auditioned.

Sarayu Blue was debating a career change—or, at very least, a pivot—when the actress landed the part of Emet on I Feel Bad, NBC’s new comedy from Amy Poehler. “I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I quit,'” she explains. “It was more of a really deep frustration with the industry and feeling like there was a cap on what, as a woman of color, I was going to be allowed to do.”

That’s not to say Blue isn’t proud of her résumé so far. She is! She’s had great experiences with roles on just about every hit procedural and sitcom you can name (NCIS: Los Angeles, Grey’s Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory) as well as a memorable part in this year’s Blockers. But after more than a decade auditioning for what she jokes are “four-line doctor roles,” Blue started to feel discouraged. She questioned her long-term plan. She thought, “I gotta figure something out to be able to not be broke at 85.”

Acting is like being in a dysfunctional relationship, she explains. Right when you’re ready to call it, you get just enough to keep going.

“In my experience, if it wasn’t written specifically for a woman of color…a lead role wasn’t going my way.”

“I turned to my husband and said, ‘I think I’ve got about one more pilot season in me,'” Blue remembers. “And he looked at me with heartbreak. I mean, he was so sad that’s where I was. It really broke his heart.” She tears up remembering this story, because, “it just makes it mean so much more now.”

That “it” is playing Emet, a mother/daughter/wife/coworker who’s just trying to keep it all together. When Blue saw the role, she knew she wanted it. Bad. She remembers shaking as she left the audition, thinking, Oh my God, I think I nailed it. After that came a studio test, then a network test, and a read with Paul Adelstein, who plays Emet’s husband David. Still, Blue knew well enough by now that roles can come and go at anytime, for any reason. It’s the nature of the business.

Another factor she considered: Emet wasn’t written specifically for an Indian woman. “I was the only woman of color testing for it,” she says. “It was one of those experiences where you go, ‘Oh, it’s either going to go that way or this way.'” In other words, she wasn’t really in competition with anyone for the part—she was auditioning for “the concept of me doing the role.”

PHOTO: Getty Images

PHOTO: Getty Images

PHOTO: Getty Images

But it worked: Blue got the part, and it had ripple effects for the rest of the show’s casting. “It brings this cultural specificity,” she explains. “You have to get Indian parents, you have to get biracial children.”

Blue compares this to a Cinderella story: Colorblind casting is still so unheard of in the industry that it’s a fairytale. A fantasy.

“There have been plenty of times I read for the leads of pilots, and I’ve called up my manager and said, ‘I’m not going to get this. You still want me to go in?'” Blue says. “Not to be cynical. I’m happy to go in; I love auditioning. But I had the awareness at that point that it was like, ‘They’re not going to do that.'”

“I’ve heard a lot of people when I got [I Feel Bad] say, ‘Where did she come from? We didn’t know you could do this!'”

When I ask her to elaborate, she says, “In my experience, if it wasn’t written specifically for a woman of color—and even more specifically, Indian—a lead role wasn’t going my way. It just wasn’t on the table. It wasn’t an option. There are plenty of lead roles that I think lots of women of color are fantastic for, but more often than not they’re creating that work for themselves. That’s what I’ve seen.”

She’s also seen people of color or other marginalized communities being limited to those aforementioned four-line doctor roles. “When you watch any story, there are characters that are fleshed out and there are functional characters. There’s nothing wrong with either,” she says. “But if you keep putting [people of color] in those roles, audiences aren’t going to know what those actors can do. I’ve heard a lot of people when I got [I Feel Bad] say, ‘Where did she come from? We didn’t know you could do this!'”

But that’s the point: She can do this. She has been doing this. She just finally has a platform to show it.

“The thing about the show that’s so special is how honest it is. None of us feel like we’re enough or doing enough or that we’re allowed to just take a break. We’re all just trying to get by,” Blue says. “I wanted to let Emet be the flawed human she is. Because I think that’s how we all feel, like treading water and trying to keep afloat. That, to me, is very human.”

I Feel Bad airs Thursdays on NBC.